Statement of Support for OTR Businesses
Over-the-Rhine's small businesses have been dealing with overwhelming uncertainty and pressure since the beginning of the Covid-19 pandemic. Following a necessary months-long closure, businesses have started reopening over the past month, doing so in a safe, socially distant manner that puts the health of both customers and employees above all else.
Our small businesses have been instrumental in creating Cincinnati's thriving and vibrant urban core and not only build their business here to make a living, but to be a part of the community and the people they care about. They welcome each of their regulars and first-time customers the same. Since the onset of the pandemic, they have all worked extremely hard at providing a safe environment for every customer. Expanded outdoor dining areas, mandatory temperature checks, required masks, appropriate table spacing, limiting capacity, extra sanitizing of surfaces, and additional hand-washing stations are just a few steps businesses are taking to create a safe environment. But the virus is impacting every area of our lives, and businesses are not immune to its impact.
Several OTR restaurants have had staff members test positive for COVID since reopening. In instances where infected employees were in the establishment, the businesses have temporarily closed for deep cleaning. In instances where the illness was caught prior to the employees working a shift, the businesses have continued safely operating, since the virus was not present in the establishment.
In all instances, the businesses owners have been and continue to be primarily focused on the health and safety of everyone involved. These businesses are rigorously following the guidelines provided by the CDC, as well as the guidance of state and local health officials. This will continue to be the case. However, there will always be some level of risk when leaving our homes – whether going to the grocery, gym, office, or out to eat. Likewise, this is an issue that both individuals and businesses are dealing with everywhere – in Greater Cincinnati, throughout Ohio and across the nation. We are confident that the businesses in OTR are creating as safe an environment as possible in addressing these challenges that are being faced throughout the country.
Small businesses account for 44% of the U.S. economy and OTR is no exception. The OTR and Pendleton neighborhoods have just under 300 brick-and-mortar businesses. Over the past three years, 140 new businesses have opened, creating over 1,000 new jobs, many of which are filled by local residents. OTR's small business owners have invested their livelihoods to make our urban core what it is today – and even now are still making every effort to give back to their community.
This sampling of data speaks to the importance of the people and places who are depending on patrons’ support in any way they feel comfortable; from dining in and carrying out to online shopping to buying gift cards. Please make the choice to support our small business district and keep these establishments alive and thriving once the pandemic has passed.